Only the Gospel meets all my needs. If I feel good, the Gospel brings deeper joy and explains why I can be this way. If I feel the weight of my foolishness, the Gospel lifts it. If I am angry at someone, it puts my perspective on forgiveness. If I feel unloved, this good news from God banishes that negativity. If I am proud, it humbles me. If I am low, it lifts me up.
In my electronic calendar, I’ve set a monthly reminder to read Isaiah 52-54 so I will think again of the plan of God to redeem sinners, the plan made long ago and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Today’s devotional directs me to read this passage from those important chapters. It is talking about Jesus and the Gospel . . .
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (Isaiah 53:1–8)
Jesus obeyed the law to establish righteousness for us, but that was not enough; justice against sin must be satisfied, so Jesus became sin for us. He had none of His own, but took upon Himself all our sin and as our substitute received the wrath of God for our transgressions. He died as my substitute, assuming responsibility for my sin against Him.
Because of Jesus, God declared that my sin is washed away and I have been pardoned, forgiven, even made holy in the sight of God, now bearing the righteousness of my Savior. Not only that, He gave me a new role in life. I am His ambassador, a citizen of heaven living here on earth to share this amazing message with others . . .
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20–21)
Jesus, You became sin for me that I might share in your righteousness and be reconciled to God the Father. This good news overwhelms me, delights me, and often brings me to tears as I realize it was necessary. I am sad for the pain You suffered, yet overjoyed that death could not hold You — You rose from the grave and gave me, and all who believe in You, the wonderful gift of eternal life — for which I am eternally grateful!